Washington Post publisher: Trump officials, Saudis asking world to 'take their word' on Khashoggi murder

Washington Post publisher: Trump officials, Saudis asking world to 'take their word' on Khashoggi murder
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Washington Post Publisher and CEO Fred Ryan in a statement Thursday slammed the U.S. and Saudi governments for "asking the world to take their word" on the results of an investigation into the killing of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi.

"In announcing actions against 'those responsible' for Jamal Khashoggi's murder, the Saudi and U.S. governments are asking the world to take their word for it that this settles the matter," Ryan wrote in a statement tweeted out by the Twitter account for the paper's public relations department.

"From the start, the Saudi 'investigation' has been an effort to shield those ultimately responsible for this heinous crime when there is every reason to believe that it was authorized at the highest levels of the Saudi government," he continued.

“Many important questions about Jamal’s tragic murder have gone unanswered. The U.S. government should be demanding an independent investigation that gets to the truth about the murder of an innocent journalist,” he added.

Ryan's statement came shortly after the Trump administration announced sanctions against 17 Saudis for their alleged roles in Khashoggi's killing.

The sanctions mark the U.S.'s most sweeping punishment to date of Saudis over the journalist's killing.

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Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain papers for his upcoming marriage.

The Saudi government has issued several conflicting explanations for his killing, initially denying knowledge of his whereabouts and later claiming he was killed in a "fight" gone awry. A top Saudi official indicated late last month that the killing was "premeditated."

Khashoggi's murder sparked an international firestorm, with bipartisan members of Congress calling on the Saudi government to be punished. 

“I have a lot of concerns about the trajectory that Saudi Arabia is on right now, and I think a price needs to be paid,” Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerVulnerable senators hold the key to Trump's fate Trump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Thursday. 

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is also reportedly seeking the death penalty for five suspects in Khashoggi's killing. 

NBC News reported Thursday that the White House is weighing the possible deportation of a Turkish dissident from the U.S. to try to persuade Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to ease pressure that Turkey is putting on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's murder.